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How can I help new GH to relax around DS?

(19 Posts)
YourHandInMyHand Fri 26-Apr-13 11:13:13

DS is 8, and is being very good at giving our new dog space, he knows not to bound up to her, startle her, etc.

New dog is 3yr old greyhound, ex racer and has come to me from rescue kennels. She is slowly but surely settling in and I feel she has now bonded with me but is still very scared around DS and I want them to eventually be relaxed together. When he walks into a room she slinks out, ears flat to head, tail between legs. sad

Dog had never been in a house environment, didn't like the boy dogs she was in kennels with, and it seems is terrified of men. She has a very sweet gentle nature though.

She is too nervous to even respond to treats from DS, he ends up throwing them across to her. She is very fussy with treats and won't eat any bog standard biscuits, but likes bones, her kong, cheese and garlic sausage!

If anyone has been through similar or has any tips or ideas I'd really appreciate it. We are limited to house and garden at the moment as she has come into season!

Lilcamper Fri 26-Apr-13 11:40:03

You have made a good start. Get your DS to throw extra tasty treats behind her. She will then have the opportunity to move further away from him and at the same time will start to learn your DS being around means good thing come her way.

Callisto Fri 26-Apr-13 12:38:57

She may well have been beaten by her old trainer and breeder and she may not have seen a child before. Racing greyhounds can lead incredibly sheltered lives so the whole thing is alien to what she has always known. You need to give her lots of space and time to make her own decision about whether or not your son is trustworthy.

How long have you had her and does she have her own space that no-one else is allowed in or (for now) near?

Callisto Fri 26-Apr-13 12:40:40

Just seen that she has come into season. Which rescue did you get her from - none that I know of let their dogs go without being spayed or neutered just in case they are used for breeding. Is there an understanding that you will get her spayed?

YourHandInMyHand Fri 26-Apr-13 12:49:50

Callisto she is child friendly - it seems however she is not boy friendly! She was tested with a young girl, and I have also experienced her being okay with little girls, even letting them stroke her - I think she views my son as a man. He is 8 but very big for his age.

I definitely think she has had bad experiences with men.

There was a misunderstanding with the rescue regarding her being neutered, and yes she will most definitely be getting neutered - I have very strong feelings that there are enough dogs needing homes without adding to the list. I have not officially adopted her yet, she is on week 3 of a month's trial before I sign adoption papers but I am very taken with her. smile

I will try to get him throwing treats further away.
Have not been pushing the issue a lot as it is still early days and she's still settling in - just wanted some advice really.

Her dog bed is in the kitchen and DS knows not to approach it, rush towards her, etc. If he is walking past he knows to walk calmly so she knows he's not about to descend on her. I'm pleasantly surprised at how calm he is being around her bless him.

Callisto Fri 26-Apr-13 12:59:50

Good for your son! You could also tell him to speak gently to her when he walks past, whilst ignoring her of course! Perhaps get him to sit on the floor in the same room as her and read a book to her every so often? My last greyhound bitch was very noise sensitive, and she loved a soothing voice.

I think week three is very early days. It may be months before she is confident enough to approach your DS. I think time and space is what she needs. Try and remember that everything is a new experience and she will be feeling very insecure. Stick with it, she sounds lovely and if you let her go at her own speed she will eventually reward you and your son with more love and affection that you can handle. smile

Scuttlebutter Fri 26-Apr-13 13:42:04

I'm sorry to say I have concerns about this, and I am nuts about greys, have 4, foster, home check and do a lot of rescue volunteering. sad Not all greys get on well with DC - most do, but we have one who very definitely doesn't. Like yours he is terrified of strange men. We have slowly and carefully built up a relationship between him and our DNs who visit regularly, but he would never be suitable for being homed permanently in an environment with DC, no matter how well behaved.

My concern will be when your DS brings friends round, both now and in his teenage years - this will be very difficult for your dog. There are masses of greyhounds out there who are good with DC - why make life difficult for yourself?

This poor girl would probably be much happier in a home without children or lots of strange men.

Not your fault at all, but this rescue has not served you well. Am hmm at allowing an un-spayed bitch to be homed, and it really doesn't sound as they have matched you very well. If you PM me, let me know which rescue and I can point you at some other reputable ones.

YourHandInMyHand Fri 26-Apr-13 14:39:24

sad How can I send her back to kennels?

There aren't lots of children or strange men coming in and out.

The rescue is going to give me a voucher to get her spayed, it seems like it was a genuine mix up regarding her not being done yet.

mistlethrush Fri 26-Apr-13 15:08:26

We had a dog that was so terrified of children she would have attacked them if she had been able to get to them. We got to the stage with her that she would keep her distance with any strange ones on walks, and accept those in the house OK provided they were sensible.

What do you do exercise-wise and does she enjoy that?

Work out what some favourite treats are and get DS to be the only person from whom she can get them... liver cake, sausage, chicken... make it a really positive thing that she gets from him.

Does he make himself small at times in the same room as her - if he can cope I would see what she does if he settles himself down on the floor (on a cushion?) with a book or a DS at the far end of a room she is in (not blocking the door) where she can see him but still not be close - and just ignore her when doing that - see how that goes, gradually get it nearer if she seem to be OK.

I would be trying to ensure that she sees the two of you together a lot - walking together, sitting next to each other.

But I wouldn't get him to even try to touch her at the moment until she has got a little more used to things. 3 weeks is still early days if she has been mistreated, and also given that DS will be out at school most of the time so far.

YourHandInMyHand Fri 26-Apr-13 16:30:25

No we quickly realised he wouldn't be stroking her! He says hello to her in a friendly voice, and sometimes I get him to call her and then chuck a treat towards her. Sometimes she picks it up sometimes she's too scared. I also when we are sat watching tv bring her bed into the room and close the kitchen door. She does settle on the bed and I figure this gets her used to seeing that being in the same room as DS won't hurt her.

She had been having two good walks a day, one with me after the school run, and one after tea with me and DS. We live near a nice cycle track and meadow popular for dog walks. She was just relaxing on her walks and now she's in season so can't go out! The timing of this was not good. We have a good sized garden though and she likes to have an excited zoom in there on occasion, and brings her toys and our shoes in and out.

YourHandInMyHand Fri 26-Apr-13 16:34:45

Yikes at dog attacking! Mine isn't aggressive thankfully.

Scuttlebutter Fri 26-Apr-13 16:40:13

A dog who is intensely fearful is more unpredictable though, and if put in a position where they feel crowded/cornered, can bite.

Our fearful boy has snapped at DH in the early days and at the then Chair of the rescue blush - a tall man who he didn't know very well. Fortunately the encounter was carefully managed so no harm done, but it is a real issue.

mistlethrush Fri 26-Apr-13 17:35:21

Ours was desperately scared of children, teenagers - particularly those with sports equipment - and men - particularly with hats on or carrying sticks. Oh - and dogs. We think that she had been very badly treated, plagued by children and physically harmed by men and teenagers, together with not being socialised by the time we got her at about 10mo.

She was never normal - and having seen some of the temperament tests, probably if we'd got her from a really good rescue she would never have been rehomed but just PTS - she had fear aggression and also food aggression (although she never once bit us, just made an awful noise). But she became the most wonderful, loyal dog.

What treats have you tried her with?

When you walk after school, is she on a lead - what length, where is DS walking in relation to you and her?

YourHandInMyHand Fri 26-Apr-13 19:26:35

Hmm not sure on length of lead. It's a leather coursing type one, quite long but she walks alongside me with the lead slack. She likes DS on the other side of me or in front, doesn't like him behind her - if he's lagging behind she stops and waits until he's passed again!

Treats she likes - garlic sausage, cheese, etc - dry treats don't interest her it has to be quite smelly to get her interest. She has a taste for garlic due to being fed takeaway foods in the past.

MissBetseyTrotwood Fri 26-Apr-13 20:28:27

Hmm, our DSs are 4 and 6 and both greys we've adopted (one on trial still - on week 1) had not been child tested when we brought them home. We did walk them with our boys though and they both seemed ok. We watch them like hawks though and obviously don't leave the DCs unattended with them. We do leave our longest adoptee with them when they're watching TV on the sofa together though.

Re. the spaying. The girl we have on trial right now has not been spayed as she was in season when she was brought in and they said they have to wait 3 months or so after the season for the op. They did say we could only adopt her if we'd set a date with them for the spaying though, and she'll go back there and have it done by their vet.

Might working her into a very strong routine that has him as part of it help? I mean, like to the extent that he treats her with something very yummy at a set time of day and walks her at a set time of day with you etc.

3 weeks either way is early days I think. I have to say, if she's that fearful I would be considering taking her back. Your son will be a big part of her life and if he makes her nervous, (through no fault of his own), she'll spend a long time feeling tense. It would be so nice for him to have a dog that engages positively with him too.

Either way, your DS sounds absolutely lovely. smile

mistlethrush Sat 27-Apr-13 09:51:47

Actually - I think Betsy is very sensible in what she says - not only do you need to think of the dog, you do need to think of your son's needs very carefully. We picked our lurcher as we thought she would like to play with him - we were right, and the two of them get on really well - we still watch the two of them very carefully and DS has to be reminded that mistlehound doesn't like her space invaded when she's on the sofa if she's not expecting it - she is quite happy to be stroked though, just a bit touchy about her feet or legs being bumped into accidentally. We actually specifically went for a lurcher rather than a grey hound because we thought that the play potential was probably better with an 8yo boy.... One of the things on our 'wishlist' was a dog that would like to playhide and seek in the woods with DS - and she does.

Callisto Sat 27-Apr-13 09:55:08

Just a quick point - I don't think you should move her bed. It is her sanctuary and somewhere she should feel safe. By moving it you may be adding to her anxiety. By all means shut her in with you when you watch tv, but make another bed for her in the sitting room which can be put away in the day.

Also, I agree how very hard it must be to consider sending her back, and while Scuttle has way more experience of these dogs than me, I think you should give her a chance. You can get in touch with one of the bigger greyhound charities for advice about her behavioural issues - they may be able to recommend a trainer who understands greyhounds and who can see how she is with your son in your own home.

Archetype Sat 27-Apr-13 10:56:49

My parents have rescued two ex racing greyhounds, a boy and girl. when they first came home they couldn't use stairs and they didn't know their names sad .
neither of them like kids and we put them up stairs on their beds when any children come round.
I think all you can do is what you're doing. keep trying to show her that ds is good and comes with treats.

MissBetseyTrotwood Sat 27-Apr-13 16:53:40

GRWE are an excellent charity. Not who we adopted from but are very helpful.

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